Freshers week was great wasn’t it? A disproportionate amount of exciting sex, interspersed with a few philosophical conversations in digs that are furnished predominantly with stolen traffic cones. Too many clichés?  Maybe.

But with a student loan burning a hole in their bank account and 18 or more years of living at home to make up for, one thing is for sure, this sudden taste of freedom is more than many under-graduates can cope with.  

Even at student union prices costs mount up so the UK’s leading car-sharing community has put together some tips to help uni-newbies reach December with enough money left over to car-share home for Christmas. 

1. Get an NUS Extra ID

 At £12 students have to fork out before it pays out but if the local supermarket is a Co-op 10% off every shop is a good incentive.  Important stuff like cinema tickets, meals out and shopping at ASOS are also discounted as is a digital newspaper and magazine subscriptions. Even if places don’t advertise student discounts many offer them for those flashing an ID card, so savings can be made on anything from handbags to haircuts, dinners out to driving lessons.

2. Be realistic

Student loans can either be delivered in one lump sum or divided up into three payments, one each term. Freedom at last! But let’s be realistic unless they have the kind of budgeting wizardry never seen before in a fresher splitting the loan is the only way to go.

3. Don’t buy new text books

Most courses demand textbooks by the tonne and new ones cost a packet.Check out Google Scholar for used books or be the first to find the library – speak to second years from the same course and find out what’s needed before the rush begins.

4. Shop together, cook together, save together

We’re not suggesting being best mates with everyone in Halls but cooking for one can mean extra waste and expense.  Making dinner for 4 – even if it’s just once or twice a week – is logical. If eating with housemates is more than any student could stomach then bag some freezer space and batch cook a few of Jamie’s Money Saving Meals.

5. Don’t let the train add budgetary strain

Train fares are expensive even with student discounts plus they limit the amount of washing that can be lugged home.  Find people to share journeys to visit mates at other unis or to visit the bank of mum and dad. There are over a million seats available to share every day and as well as being a great place to meet other students going your way will save precious pounds. 

6. Click ‘Balance enquiry’ every time

Students – like everyone – should check their bank balance as regularly as they can to keep tabs on how much they are spending and what’s left. Free overdrafts offered by most banks to students are a good back-up but should only be used as a last resort. Any unarranged borrowing can start a spiral of debt that causes real stress.

7. Stay mobile

From picking the right mobile phone contract to haggling with their service provider students need to make sure their tariff is the most cost-effective for their needs.   The consequences of not keeping up with bills are likely to catastrophic…no phone no fun!

8. Embrace the sharing economy

From sharing lifts in cars to sharing technology, designer clothes and even pets (for those who need a fix when they’re far from home) people all over the UK are sharing everything right now. Founder of Liftshare, Ali Clabburn, reckons the only thing we actually need to own is a mobile phone – we can borrow or rent everything else, which is a truly economical way of living!  

Image via Getty